Villarreal carried out a masterfully planned tactics and lead Manchester United 1-0 in Gdańsk – It was an intriguing first 45 minutes in the UEFA Europa League final.
The Yellow Submarine most creative player, Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze with four assists and most successful dribbles, was not fit enough to start and they missed his ability to beat players to create additional space for teammates. So they resulted to waiting for setpiece chances.
And it was no surprise when Daniel Parejo’s freekick was touched into the net by the outstretched legs of Gerard Moreno to give Villarreal a 1-0 lead which they defended to end the first half with the advantage. Moreno is the first player to score 30+ goals for Villarreal in a single season in all competitions since Giuseppe Rossi in 2010/11.
Interestingly, Manchester United dominated play as full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw probed forward at every opportunity but the Spaniard stayed compact with Raul Albiol and Pau Torres commanding the backline.
However, one major highlight in the first half was the appearance of the youngster Spanish player to ever play in the Europa League final. Yeremy Pino 18-year-old snubbed Barcelona as a 14-year-old to join Villarreal. He almost lost sight in one eye after an incident with Pedri Hushed face.